Start-ups, Acquisitions, and your ITSM System

This is a follow-up post on the subject of start-ups and acquisitions, which was posted in the middle of July.

That post looked at what happens of your support operation is suddenly faced with the appearance of a new company (which I called NewCo), and some of the questions you can ask if you are trying to make sense of how this new organisation might affect your IT support service.

This post will address the question

'how do I incorporate them [the new company] into our support system?'

...which is the question our support service gets asked most often in connection with this. So before continuing, you might want to go back to the other article and re-read the questions listed - hopefully they will add a little perspective.

1. Do you need to add the new company at all, or do anything? This might well be the conclusion you draw, so don't feel compelled to make any changes or additions to your ITSM system. It might simply be the case NewCo set's up it's own completely distinct ITSM system, and everything continues as before.

2. Add the new company NewCo as a Service Team. As mentioned in the earlier post, the issue here is one of control. Adding the IT support staff of NewCo as a Service Team (like your existing first line, network or other teams) is perfectly OK but it does imply control within the existing IT management framework, in as much as Incidents can be assigned to them, and they will be subject to the same expectations, SLAs and metrics as other Teams.

There will also be a degree of information sharing, as usually NewCo will usually be able to see shared information like your CMDB, Knowledgebase documents and ticket pools. Usually this kind of information sharing between teams is a good thing, but consider if there are any confidentiality issues to address.

3. Add the new company NewCo as a Supplier, and use Supplier Management (you'll find lots of articles about Supplier Management in this Blog).

Setting the NewCo IT support function up as a Supplier is useful if you have no control over how they operate (in other words, they are like a black box) but you still need to be able to pass Incidents, Service Requests and Changes between the two in a structured way. Setting-up NewCo as a Supplier will also allow you to collate supplier related metrics, like the number of tickets currently assigned, or assigned in the past month. Generally this kind of approach can side-step the politically sensitive issues alluded to in the earlier post.